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Vehicle Mechanic - Joining in late twenties


Evening all, as the title says I am currently 28 and thinking of joining up as a Vehicle Mechanic. I have always been interested in the Armed Forces ever since I was a Cadet and nearly joined the RMP when I was 18 (Dad talked me out of it) however until now I have never enlisted.
I have enjoyed my twenties and spent most of it travelling the world, living in NZ and Aus for a total of 4 years and also doing a variety of jobs such as; working offshore on oil rigs, working on farms, fitting house/farm pumps, doing a bit of welding/fabrication and I have also worked in factories/warehouses when I was younger. Basically I have a decent amount of life experience but have no real skills or career prospects. Now I am realizing that I am not getting any younger and don't want to look back on my life thinking I wish I would of joined the Army when I was younger and regret not doing so.
I have always been interested in cars/vehicles and how they work but don't have much knowledge or experience with them apart from doing basic servicing work myself. I feel that joining up as Vehicle Mechanic would suit me the most and from what they say on the website the skills and qualifications they offer sound promising, and would also be a help down the line if or when I left the Army later in life.

I understand that by enlisting at an older age I will be getting told what to do by people who are younger than me and will probably stand out a lot from the younger guys, however I feel that if I put my mind to it, get stuck in and show I am eager to learn I would hopefully do alright. I am also single and don't have children, therefore I don't have any real responsibilities or ties so I am pretty much a free man in that department.

I am looking for any advice and/or opinions on this matter and am open to other ideas or roles.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, any advice is appreciated.
Know plenty of 25-29 year olds doing their phase 1 and 2 currently. Christ, I did my phase 1 with half of my section being 31 year olds. You'll be fine, no need to worry about your age. The usual of being physically fit etc etc as the norm.

Heard Lyneham's a good little camp too, which is where you'll be training to be a vm for a year or so.


War Hero
Should be fine, I’ll be 24 before I start P2 and a lot of guys in my selection were older or around the same age as me so it’s nkt like you’ll be in with all teenagers. No idea how P1 and P2 will be cos I start next month but if selection was anything to go by enthusiasm and willingness to learn is a big plus.


That's promising to hear that there are other similar aged people to myself joining up.

As for going Fitter in the Royal Engineers - I've looked at the role on the website and says that I would need a "C" in Maths, where as I only have a "D" so I'm guessing that role is out of the question.
Plant Mechanic doesn't really interest me as much as Vehicle Mechanic if I'm honest either.

Out of all the roles Vehicle Mechanic appeals to me the most, Recovery Mechanic sounds quite interesting as well, not sure which one has the better prospects as a career though.

Thank you to all for your replies, appreciate it.
Don't think the maths grade would be an issue. Plus. you'd get two trades out of it being a plant op if you have one eye in the future after the army they spend a bit of time in the workshop with REME doing stuff to the fleet. Mechanics on a whole even in civ div are nothing more than fitters themselves these days and the days of REME doing major strip down/rebuilds of engines ect are gone as these at ABRO ect.

Ask on both capbage forums here and see how the 2 rolesncompare side by side before ruling out the plant op role.


Ok I will have to do a bit more research into the Plant Op role then. Yes I have heard that most mechanics these days are only fitters as its more efficient and cheaper just to replace a part instead of rebuilding it. What is ABRO short for?

Thanks for your reply and the info.


Ah ok I see...

Think I will have to keep my options open and research a few more roles then. VM still appeals to me the most but doesn't sound like it would be a massively varied job role, if you are just replacing parts most of the time...
Hello Pred. Plenty of guys joined the army 20+ years ago in your position. I think your life experience will stand you in good stead, and if you want to go REME, do it. This could be the start of a new life!
Think about joining the Royal Engineers plant op/fitter might interest you
He may wish to get promoted over LCpl though, or even do the job he trained for


He may wish to get promoted over LCpl though, or even do the job he trained for

Going by that I'm guessing prospects for promotion are a bit better in the REME as a VM than in the RE as a Plant Op? Can I ask what your position was in the REME?

Also thanks RangdoOfArg, yes I am looking for a new start and something I can get stuck into and learn.
You have to be very careful of the wording for POM (Plant operator Mechanic) as you are the operator of the plant equipment mainly and that is why we refer it as Plant operator maintainer or PLANTY. You are right with academics requirements and would need a D grade (Grade 3) for REME VM and RE POM. However the General Fitter (basically the mechanic on the plant equipment) requires C grade (Grade 4).

Not slating either of the roles as spent 26 years as a REME VM and in that time around 6 years working with general Fitters, POMS in different RE Squadrons.....I worked on all the PLANT and Misc equipment including Outboard motors aswell during that time. A lot of RE General Fitters I worked with transferred into the REME as VM's later in their careers so they could go Artificer as promotion hit a dead end in the RE at that role.

Wretched Mech (Recovery Mech) is also another awesome trade

In layman terms I would say REME VM's get to work on all the different vehicles equipment the Army holds and RE General Fitters get mainly to work on PLANT equipment so are extremely good at hydraulics.

This is not to offend any dress wearing Wedgies as loved working with you FATBADGES :)
Look at options at Army Brief stage then after hopefully passing at Assessment centre ask to go on a REME RIC (Residential Insight course) at Lyneham or a RE RIC at Minley and Chatham to see what is best for you.


Thanks for your post The_IRON, I think my next move is to get an interview/chat at my local Careers Office and get some more information on the roles.
The RIC sounds like a good idea as well.

Thank you to everyone who posted for your helpful information and advice.
I’m 26 and just waiting for my phase 1 start date with my 27th next month.

I can’t give any advice on trades as I’m going into infantry but you’re not the only person joining at an older age

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